Matt Sullivan honored as Distinguished Scholar

Posted: May 10, 2023
Matthew Sullivan

Matthew Sullivan, professor of microbiology in the College of Arts and Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, was named a 2023 Distinguished Scholar by The Ohio State University.

The Distinguished Scholar Award is among the highest annual honors awarded at Ohio State. The university-level award honors six faculty members who demonstrate scholarly activity, conduct research or creative works that represent exceptional achievements in their fields and garner distinction for the university. 

Award recipients are nominated by their departments and chosen by a committee of senior faculty, including past award recipients. Distinguished Scholars receive an honorarium and a research grant to be used over the next three years. 

The ‘microbiome’ is increasingly recognized to drive Earth’s ecosystems, including in humans, but it does so under constraints imposed by viruses. Sullivan pioneered viral ecogenomics as a means to study viruses in complex communities via quantitative viral metagenomic sample-to-sequence pipelines, new approaches to link viruses and hosts, and developing iVirus, a community-available analytical platform. In the oceans, Sullivan has vastly expanded our understanding of the global virosphere, established automatable scalable taxonomic approaches, and elucidated how ‘wild’ viruses evolve and even metabolically reprogram the most abundant photosystems on the planet. Outside the oceans, Sullivan has adapted these toolkits for use in extreme environments, soils and humans with each new environment leading to myriad discoveries that place viruses at the core of these microbial ecosystems.

After spending seven years at the University of Arizona, Sullivan began his work as an assistant professor at Ohio State in 2015. He is the founding director of the Center for Microbiome Science which encompasses more than 100 microbiologists from nine colleges across campus. His honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, selection as a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator, a Kavli Fellow and a Beckman Mentor.

- Prepared with content provided by COE Communiocations

Category: Faculty
Tag: Awards